The ontological argument is the only argument that uses reason to justify the belief and that is also an a priori argument as it relies on knowledge gained from reasoning and not from empirical knowledge. Anselm suggests argument was given through religious experience. Moreover, anselms argument was shown to be a valid argument, with a conclusion that follows from the premises. The second version does not rely on the highly problematic claim that existence is a property and hence avoids many of the objections to the classic version. The relevance of kants objection to anselms ontological. In contrast, the ontological arguments are conceptual in roughly the following. Anselm starts with an idea that depends on experience for their justification and then proceeds by purely logical means to the conclusion that god exists. Hence, even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding, at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived. The ontological argument is an idea in religious philosophy. Alvin plantinga challenged this argument and proposed an alternative, based on modal logic. Plantingas modal ontological argument includes many of the aspects of anselm s original argument but includes various additions and changes. Anselm s argument found in the second chapter of his proslogion, gaunilo s criticism of.
The philosophical consensus seems to be that the argument is hopeless. The idea is that existing makes a good thing better than one thats only imaginary. A good discussion with extensive links to the history, classification, and classic objections to. Anselm proposes that if god can be thought of and perceived, then he must. He is most famous in philosophy for having discovered and articulated the socalled ontological argument.
Essay anselm s ontological argument 1281 words 6 pages. Strengths and weaknesses of the ontological argument. Anselm had a clear understanding of an all knowing, all powerful and an all loving god, thus believing god exists. Theologian and philosopher anselm of canterbury 10331109 proposed an ontological argument in the second and third chapters of his proslogion. Norman malcolm revived the ontological argument in 1960 when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in anselm s work.
Essay on anselms ontological argument 1217 words bartleby. Anselm ontological argument san jose state university. Saint anselm of canterbury o ered several arguments for the existence of god. Anselm s starting point for the argument came from a passage from the fool in the psalm.
But many philosophers are skeptical about this underlying assumption. Ontological arguments about the existence of god, based in premises ostensibly derived. In an analytic proposition, the predicate concept is contained in its subject concept. In the writings of anselm, we find what appear to be conflicting accounts of gods relationship to creaturely acts of sin. Saint anselm 10331109 proslogion translated by sidney. Pdf there is a hierarchy of arguments for the existence of god. Essay about anselms ontological argument 680 words. Neal, anselm s ontological argument for the existence of god from grace incarnate 1990 maciej nowicki, anselm and russell logic and logical philosophy 2006 15. The ontological argument is widely thought to have been first clearly articulated by st. Anselm of canterbury was a neoplatonic realist and was.
Anselms ontological argument essay example graduateway. The ontological argument, an 11th century proof of the existence of god. In the ontological argument we start from a concept in the mind. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. By the ontological argument i mean the argument of proslogion ii. The classical ontological argument for gods existence proposed by anselm of canterbury can be summed up as god is the greatest possible being that can be imagined if that being existed in reality it. He is best known for the celebrated ontological argument for the existence of god in the proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology and indeed to philosophy more generally go well beyond the ontological argument.
Criticisms of anselms ontological argument the postbarthian. Therefore the argument works only in the case of god. We examine the famous ontological argument in proslogium ii. The arguments attempt to prove god s existence from the meaning of the word god. Saint anselm of canterbury offered several arguments for the existence of god. Anselms argument was not presented in order to prove gods existence. This book contains his proslogium, monologium, and cur deus homo, as well as appendices on behalf of the fool and anselms apologetic, anselms philosophy, and criticisms of anselms ontological argument for the being. The first ontological argument in the western christian tradition 1 was proposed by anselm of canterbury in his 1078 work proslogion. Anselm s argument together with gaunilo s, aquinas and kant s objections are conveniently summarized by kenneth einar himma in the internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Proslogium, monologium, an appendix in behalf of the fool by gaunilon, and cur deus homo with an introduction, bibliography, and reprints of the opinions of leading philosophers and writers on the ontological argument, chicago. Afterwards, considering this work to be composed of a chain of many arguments, i began to. Proslogion preface1 upon the insistent adjurations of certain brothers i wrote a work as an example of meditating about the rational basis of faithin the role of someone who by arguing silently with himself investigates what he does not yet know. Saint anselm 10331109 proslogion translated by sidney norton deane preface after i had published, at the solicitous entreaties of certain brethren, a brief work the monologion as an example of meditation on the grounds of faith, in the person of one who.
Anselms reasoning was that, if a being existed only in the mind but not in reality, then a greater being was conceivable a being which exists both in the mind and in reality. Ontological argument anselm, descartes, and plantinga. And, as is well known, of all the versions of the ontological argument, it is anselms argument for gods existence that stands out the most. Over the centuries, many philosophers have presented criticisms against anselm s ontological argument, from gaunilo to descartes and locke to lotze. One of the famous arguments for the existence of god is the ontological argument. Malcolm agrees with a tradition beginning with gaunilo in rejecting that argument. The modal ontological argument center for philosophy of religion. Speaks january 6, 2006 1 anselms presentation of the argument anselms argument begins with a statement of what god is. Anselms ontological argument is an a priori proof of gods existence. Anselms ontological argument purports to be an a priori proof of gods existence. Mar 23, 2012 evaluate anselms ontological argument for the existence of god. Anselms versions of the ontological argument descartes is not the first philosopher to state this argument. Norman malcolm revived the ontological argument in 1960 when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in anselms work. Anselm of canterbury, who defined god as the greatest conceivable being.
The ontological argument therefore, lord, who grant understanding to faith, grant me that, in so far as you knowit beneficial, i understand that you are as we believe and you are that which we believe. Ratio, intelligere, and cogitare in anselms ontological ine nolan proceedings of the american catholic philosophical association. Explain anselms ontological argument essay graduateway. Anselm and of gaunilo, two eleventhcentury thinkers, are both ontological in character. Formal reconstructions of anselms ontological argument. The form of the argument is that of a reductio ad absurdum argument. Jan 06, 2006 anselms idea is that the problem with the argument which leads to c is that 2 is false. And finally there is one more strong criticism where anselm s argument fails. The first published criticism of anselms ontological argument was from gaunilo in his book in behalf of the fool making reference to the fool in the book of psalms who didnt believe in god.
Immanuel kant put forward an influential criticism of the ontological argument in his critique of pure reason. Anselms second version of the ontological argument as it turns out, there are two different versions of the ontological argument in the prosologium. Although this argument has been presented as unassailable and irrefutable, there have been, however, some very important attempted refutations from very reputable and important scholars. The main difference is that anselm abided by the scholastic premise that the human mind comes into. Anselm of canterbury 10331109 saint anselm was one of the most important christian thinkers of the eleventh century. While there are several different versions of the argument, all purport to show that it is selfcontradictory to deny that there exists a greatest possible being. The honor of being the first to present this argument fully and clearly belongs to saint anselm of canterbury 10331109.
The ontological arguments of god are many, the weaknesses they suffer can be found in this reference. Pdf in this article i offer a new interpretation of saint anselms ontological argument. The ontological argument made by anselm was criticized by one of his contemporaries, a monk named gaunilo, who said, that by anselm s reasoning, one could imagine a certain island, more perfect than any other island, tf this island can exist in the mind, then according to anselm, it would necessarily exist in reality, for a perfect island. Now we believe that you are are something than which nothing greater can be thought.
Most people believe that god exists, and many have attempted to give rational arguments or proofs for his existence. Compare anselms argument to paleys design argument for gods existence. While gaunilo was a firm believer in god and was in fact a monk, he disagreed strongly with anselms method for proving his existence. The ontological argument describes god as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived, anselm argued that the greatest possible being must exist otherwise he would not be the greatest possible being, although he must be the greatest possible being in every way. The ontological argument ought not be jettisoned from a cumulative case for gods existence simply because it has failed to satisfy all those who. A new formalization of anselms ontological argument. When the ontological argument is set alongside the a posteriori arguments for gods existence, a cumulative case is made for iteven if the formal purity of the argument might be compromised. Essay on the ontological argument for the existence of god. In this paper i argue, against plantinga and others, that kants claim is indeed relevant to anselms argument, in the straightforward sense that if the claim is true, then anselms argument is unsound. The simple argument in proslogion 2 was reduced to absurdity by anselm s fellow benedictine, gaunilo, in a witty reposte entitled liber pro insipiente or on behalf of the fool. His criticism is primarily directed at descartes, but also attacks leibniz.
The origins of the ontological argument are usually seen in the writings of st anselm of canterbury. The greatest similarity is that both start from ideally conceived notions, as opposed to arguments from reality like those by aristotle and aquinas. The premises of anselms ontological argument were demonstrated to be sound when examined in the context of anselms definition of the greatest conceivable being. Thus, a being that is omniscient lacks the ability to create free beings and is. One of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an allperfect god is the ontological argument. A more recent ontological argument came from kurt godel, who proposed a formal argument for gods existence. Anselm s argument in proslogion 2 was a reflection or prayer rather than a formal piece of. Professor malcolm on anselm s ontological arguments, analysis, 1961. Ontological argument simple english wikipedia, the free. The idea is that existing makes a good thing better than one that s only imaginary. Actually anselm s argument belittles the definition of god, since it cannot be derived from his proof whether god is allpowerful, all knowing, and omnipresent or not.
The core of anselms ontological argument uses a reductio ad absurdum structure to attempt to prove the existence of god. The ontological argument was introduced by anselm of canterbury in his book proslogion. Anselm defined god as a being than which no greater can be conceived, and which exists 2, and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of god. Essay anselms ontological argument 1281 words bartleby. The ontological argument of gods existence may be traced back to st.
Many arguments fall under the category of the ontological, but they tend to involve arguments about the state of being or existing. In chapter 2 of anselm s proslogian, anselm offers what was later to be characterized as his ontological argument, which is an argument for gods existence he felt was so strong that even a fool as is said in psalms 14. He has two versions of it, and they are the most widely discussed among the many versions of this argument. Explain the ontological argument from anselms perspective. Fideists would take issue as if it proves gods existence, removes virtue of faith. But it is the other argument with which malcolm is particularly concerned. Ontological argument criticisms introduction to philosophy. Descartes employed versions of the ontological argument where the very concept of god as a perfect being implies existence as a. The ontological argument debunked anselm refuted duration.
Anselm s response focuses on his position that god alone cannot be conceived not to exist. Malcolms version malcolm pointed out the second version of the ontological argument, god is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. Anselm wrote his proslogion as a prayer originally, but it later became an argument for god by establishing his attributes. A proper understanding and analysis of nature reveals that there is a system that was properly constructed to ensure interdependence and correlation. Anselms ontological argument for the existence of god. If one wants to deny that god exists, one has to do one of two things. Plantinga basically uses a possible world analysis. He does this by showing that if the negation of the conclusion is followed then this leads to absurdity a false or nonsensical conclusion. Anselm 10331109 of canterbury was born in aosta, italy.
On the logic of the ontological argument stanford university. Strength and weaknesses of ontological argument free essays. First, it aims at introducing the ontological argument through the analysis of five historical developments. The ontological argument in pvs 1 introduction computer science. Reprinted by permission of open court publishing company, a division of carus publishing company, peru, il. More specifically, ontological arguments tend to start with an a priori theory about the organization of the universe. Strength and weaknesses of ontological argument free. Newest ontologicalargument questions philosophy stack. About the work although anselms argument for gods existence presented in this article is based on predominately on reason, anselm presents the argument as clari. Anselms ontological argument was introduced during the 11th century and had stood deductively valid until the 18th century. Anselms s ontological argument is stated, and a few standard st. Wikipedias reprint from the scholarly 1911 encyclopedia britannica on anselm s life and works anselm, the ontological argument a short selection of anselm s argument from proslogium 2 in the online reading for philosophical inquiry on this site.
But we believe that jonathan barnes has argued persuasively that anselm s argument is not modal. Nowwe believe that you are something than which nothing greater can be imagined. The latin text, collated by hopkins and published in the foregoing work, is not here reprinted. While gaunilo was a firm believer in god and was in fact a monk, he disagreed strongly with anselms. Ontological argument project gutenberg selfpublishing. Anselms ontological argument for the existence of god corners around the definition of god as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived as well as two modes of existence, in the understanding and in reality anselm chapter 2. As is clearly evident, the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of god, as it is described in the argument, is selfconsistent. The main weakness of anselms argument is posed by gaunilo of marmoutier, a contemporary of anselm, gaunilo posed, using reductio ad absurdum, that if the logic of the argument were applied to anything other than god, its conclusion would be unreasonable.
Many recent authors have interpreted this argument as a modal one. We can attend to the logic of anselm s ontological argument, and amuse ourselves for a few hours unraveling its convoluted wordplay, or we can seek to look beyond the flawed logic, to the search. Sep 01, 2010 anselm s ontological argument in proslogion 2 has been discussed and criticized so much that it is hard for us today to see its basic structure. He is best known for the celebrated ontological argument for the existence of god in the proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology and indeed to philosophy more generally go well beyond the. The validity of anselms ontological argument anselm expresses his ontological argument of proslogium, chapter ll as follows. Anselms ontological argument for the existence of god anselms argument is an a priori argument.
Anselms ontological argument alleges that god exists is a statement that, if we are thinking clearly and understand the definition of god, we can know to be true a priori. This online translation of the proslogion is taken from a new, interpretive translation of st. The monologion begins with several arguments for the existence of god, arguments at first glance anselms project in the monologion might seem rather fishy. Plantinga s modal ontological argument includes many of the aspects of anselm s original argument but includes various additions and changes. An ontological argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of god that uses ontology. What are the differences between anselms ontological. Anselm of canterbury is most famous for his ontological argument for the existence of god, which is that god is the greatest necessary being that which may be thought of paraphrase. It is shaped by his central distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions. Ontological argument for the gods existence internet.
My goal here is to focus on spinozas ontological argument. Saint anselm of canterbury 10331109 was the outstanding christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century. Explain anselms ontological argument essay example. St anselms ontological argument is a deductive, priori, analytic argument which seeks to establish the existence of god by understanding the attributes of god in the sense of classic theism. The ontological argument from st anselm, proslogium, trans. The ontological argument for the existence of god is the only a priori argument for gods existence. Maydole ontological arguments are deductive arguments for the existence of god from general metaphysical principles and other assumptions about the nature or essence of god. There are different versions, but they all argue something like. A criticism of anselms ontological argument leaving. It is supposed to show that god exists there are different versions, but they all argue something like. The argument for the existence of god will always give rise to infinitive points of view.997 1077 362 225 759 1097 595 1007 262 435 518 875 99 1026 42 629 1347 71 1083 241 1429 771 826 1095 309 987 1589 1166 242 739 1341 1535 1584 759 946 1479 1194 929 888 1327 202 154 403 321 1210 1260 1080